As Gary Lineker’s off-side remark about the government’s immigration agenda brings BBC bias back into focus, the hosts of the News Agents podcast have had their say. Because who better to speak on impartiality than someone who was repeatedly found to have breached the rules.
Jon Sopel first chimed in that when he was abroad in America covering Trump “I was given huge amounts of latitude to call it as I saw it” – and BBC bosses backed him for it. No surprises there.
Lewis Goodall then shared his views, first claiming the Tories have succeeded in making sure “impartiality only goes in one direction”. He then spoke about Robbie Gibb, saying he made his life “very difficult”. Lewis complains that people would warn him that “Robbie’s watching you” because they “created this confection that somehow I was Labour supporting”. In the very next sentence, Lewis then admitted he was Labour-leaning.
Of course, Robbie would have been more than justified to keep an eye on Lewis. Whilst at Newsnight, he penned an anti-government front-page piece for the New Statesman – a flagrant breach of the BBC’s guidelines. He was considered a hostile opponent by Boris’ operation. At Sky, he was able to publish a long anti-Boris article and he used to work for the lefty think tank IPPR. Lewis was forever going over the top on Twitter and having to delete tweets when he remembered he was supposed to be impartial. Yet somehow it was the BBC that “created this confection”. Considering Lewis’ background, being indirectly told to take care with the editorial direction of his content hardly seems like the “crazy” approach to impartiality he was keen to describe.
The BBC’s top execs wriggled under scrutiny from MPs this morning following the appointment of Jess Brammar. There were two main lines to come from the encounter: Tim Davie claimed Brammar deleting her 16,000 tweets was a “good thing to do” and emphasised that Brammar’s position was “3 levels down” in terms of seniority, not number 3 in news. He also complained that the culture war is now raging and making the BBC’s job more difficult; and Richard Sharpe saying he doesn’t think the BBC will figure out where the Robbie Gibb leak came from. Funny given everyone else can make a pretty good guess…
When asked whether Davie was still committed to diversity of thought, and how Brammar’s appointment aided that, he confessed the BBC doesn’t ask applicants their views on issues. Surely making his goal impossible…
LBC is showing off it’s TV-looking studio today with flashy on screen graphical lower thirds. TalkRADIO has been doing the same with its virtual guests. Mainstream opinion-led TV is already sort of here in the form of these increasingly audiovisual stations. Yet there’s more to come. Guido has compiled the offers on the right vying for the potentially very lucrative spot of Britain’s right wing TV station…
A broadcasting shake-up is coming. Hard-to-regulate internet TV is now making inroads as mobile broadband improves. The BBC is running scared. Opinionated radio has already established itself with ‘balance in the round’ – across the schedule rather than within each show. Whether GB News or the NewsUK offers both launch, or combine efforts, broadcast news is facing the dawn of a new era…
One of the staunchest defenders of Theresa May’s deal has waded into the Backstop debate… on the side of Boris Johnson. For hacks who have endured months of Gibb’s impassioned defence of the agreement, this may come as a bit of a surprise…
Broadcasters have ignited a media spat with Number 10 over access to Theresa May, with Channels 4 and 5 particularly aggrieved about not getting time with the PM compared to the BBC. An indignant Michael Crick tweeted “if Number Ten is not careful it could soon look like the BBC has become the state broadcaster.”
May’s comms chief and former BBC exec Robbie Gibb was the recipient of a strongly-worded missive from the broadcasters earlier this afternoon:
Robbie wasn’t having any of it, hitting back with a long list of the PM’s recent interviews and challenging them over whether they’d made the same fuss over Corbyn last week:
Over to you, Channel 4…
Last week Robbie Gibb, the PM’s spin-doctor and former BBC politics supremo got into a spat with Krishnan Guru-Murthy:
Guido doesn’t think Krishnan’s interviewing style is anything like Jon “F**k the Tories“ Snow, he suspects Robbie has however got an impression of Krishnan’s thinking from moments like this on Friday night:
Krishnan Guru-Murthy let slip his position when he was talking to Labour Party MP Louise Ellman and Labour Party campaigner Owen Jones:
“… isn’t it weird for a man [Frank Field] who was seen as so sort of anti our position on immigration to now claim that the Labour Party is seen as racist?”
Oops… is it any wonder Robbie doesn’t put government ministers and MPs on Channel 4 News?
UPDATE: Krishnan responds
I meant “our” as shorthand for very broadly government/opposition (who have both allowed large scale EU and Non-EU migration) but I agree I should have been more precise so was open to be understood the way you did (which is totally not what I meant).